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Input Devices

Blank Keyboard 994

Raynach writes "A friend of mine recently sent me a link for Das Keyboard, the keyboard for UberGeeks. This keyboard is unique in that it has no inscriptions on the keys, which the maker touts will make you type 100% faster in a few weeks since it will keep you from looking at the keyboard. This keyboard also features individually weighted keyswitches, "The keys are divided into groups and their feedback springs are weighted differently; from 35 grams to 80 grams, which correspond to the strength of the finger that touches the keys." But is this "UberGeek" keyboard really worth the high price tag?"
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Blank Keyboard

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  • a tip (Score:5, Funny)

    by professorhojo ( 686761 ) * on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:34AM (#12634046)
    here's a tip that can save you around 80 bucks:

    BUY PRIMER -- take off cap -- spray.
    • Re:a tip (Score:5, Funny)

      by justforaday ( 560408 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:36AM (#12634074)
      Great! Now all my keys are sticky and have fingerprints on them and my fingers are covered with gunk...Got any other bright ideas, professor?
      • Re:a tip (Score:5, Funny)

        by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara.hudson@b ... u d s o n . c om> on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:38AM (#12634121) Journal
        Great! Now all my keys are sticky and have fingerprints on them and my fingers are covered with gunk
        ... and how is this different from any true geek's keyboard?
        • Re:a tip (Score:3, Funny)

          by ikkonoishi ( 674762 )
          You can't eat the keyboard crunchies in an emergency...
    • Re:a tip (Score:2, Informative)

      Good idea... but primer wears off quite easily if a final coat of paint isn't applied.

      Maybe a high-gloss paint would suffice.

      I agree, it's a bit much.
    • Re:a tip (Score:5, Funny)

      by utexaspunk ( 527541 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:37AM (#12634110) might want to point the can at your keyboard. alternatively, you could huff it, which might make it impossible to see what's on the keys as well (or anything else for that matter, but hey- think of what you'll save on monitors!)
    • Re:a tip (Score:3, Funny)

      by The-Bus ( 138060 )
      Luckily, all my keys have grime on them so I don't look at it to begin with.
    • Re:a tip (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 ) * on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:47AM (#12634284)
      I think the real reason for the extra cash is the different weights on the keys. Where some keys are harder to press then others. Thus giving you a better feel of where you are in the keyboard. and also prevention from pressing enter when you really wanted \ or ; or SHIFT or other keys that sometimes cause problems.
      • Re:a tip (Score:5, Interesting)

        by JWW ( 79176 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @11:03AM (#12634532)
        Yes, but do the click like the old IBM keyboards, now THAT would be worth the extra money.
        • Re:a tip (Score:5, Interesting)

          by pogle ( 71293 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @11:21AM (#12634761) Homepage
          Yes!! I had an old Gateway keyboard from my first PC that I used up until it finally and truly died 2 years ago. That thing could wake the dead (or at least my roommate) when I started coding. And I miss it. It was a good tactile response to my keypresses, and the audible portion is ingrained in my mind as what a keyboard should sound like.

          Also, after over a decade, none of the key labels had worn off. My laptop is suffering after barely a year. They don't make them like they used to. I doubt this 'extra sensitive' keyboard will be any better, especially since my typing isn't 100% adherent to the traditional touch typing methods; that would render those differed key weights completely useless for me.
        • I scored a totally unused IBM clicky keyboard on our last office move. Because moving is expensive, the high-ups decided to do away with old hardware and anything that wasn't really worth the move. Among these things were many unused peripherals that belonged to the headless servers and never got used. I even got to unwrap the thing out of its plastic bag and all.

          It makes beautiful clickety click noises when I type, the feedback is fantastic, and I'm pretty sure it's close to indestructible. It's bigger
        • Re:a tip (Score:3, Informative)

          by SoCalChris ( 573049 )
          What you're looking for is the Customizer keyboard, with buckling springs.


          And unlike the keyboard reviewed in the article, you can get this one without the Windows keys. They are $59. I've had mine for about a year and a half, it still looks and feels brand new.
          • Re:a tip (Score:3, Interesting)

            The windows key is a good idea, I wish my Model-M had one. It's not like it magicly stops working in linux or something. If I had one, I'd use it purely for window manager/shell binds, like switching windows/frames/etc(I use Ion). Keep ctrl/alt for apps.

            Also, why hasn't there been any real change in keyboard layout? I know the transitioning would suck, but I can think of two minor changes that would make data entry a ton easier: Tab key on numpad, Backspace key for half of the spacebar.
    • Re:a tip (Score:5, Funny)

      by jargoone ( 166102 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:50AM (#12634342)
      Here's a tip that will save you three bucks worth of primer:

      Grab moderately sharp object -- stab eyes out.

      This thing is just a dumb idea, plain and simple.
    • Re:a tip (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wireloose ( 759042 )
      Looks to me like classic Sam Clemens (Mark Twain). Take a $15 keyboard, add whitewash (remove letters), add propaganda (ubergeekness) and they'll flock.
      • Re:a tip (Score:3, Funny)

        by uberdave ( 526529 )
        Hey, painting keyboards looks like fun. Can I have a turn?
      • Re:a tip (Score:3, Funny)

        by kelzer ( 83087 )

        What we need now is a Slashdot story on somebody's ultimate DIY keyboard mod, complete with about 28 high-quality close-up PNG's showing every step of unplugging the keyboard from the PC, masking the keyboard, spraying the primer, watching the primer dry, digging out the primer that got between the keys, and hooking the keyboard back up. Oh, and about 5 more "action" shots of the keyboard in use, some with the lights off (so you can see the cool green Num Lock LED).

        Then in another week we'll see another

    • Re:a tip (Score:3, Funny)

      by trb ( 8509 )
      BUY PRIMER -- take off cap -- spray.

      Be careful to take the caps off, spray them, and replace them one by one. If you do them all at once, you won't be able to see the printing any more, and you won't be able put the right cap back on the right key.

    • Just like the ones in all the action cartoons of the 1980s, particularly GI Joe, where NONE OF THE KEYS ARE LABELLED!

      I always wondered about that. Action cartoons have these huge control panels in the various friendly and enemy bases, with football-field sized consoles with millions of buttons and keys, NONE OF WHICH ARE LABELLED.

      I guess people who use those systems must have amazing memory, eh?

    • Re:a tip (Score:3, Funny)

      by Glog ( 303500 )
      here's a tip that can save you around 80 bucks:

      So what else do you save money on? You probably prefer inflatable dolls over the real thing?
    • Re:a tip (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rolo Tomasi ( 538414 )
      There's a 'blank' version of the Happy Hacking Keyboard [].

      Also, check this [] review for another unusual keyboard.

      I can't believe nobody has posted the above info yet. Slashdot has really gone downhill as of late.

  • Obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by mukund ( 163654 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:35AM (#12634052) Homepage
    Does it have the `any' key?
  • $79 for an IBM keyboard that has been painted black (I know there is more to it than that, but that is essentially what you get). Now can someone tell me what solvent I can use to rub off the characters on my $30 white ergonomic keyboard?
    • All the blanks will be copyrighted. It's a plot to to take away our keyboards.

      All you folks with worn keys are now under arrest.

  • by Anonymous Conrad ( 600139 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:35AM (#12634059)
    Nowadays keyboards come with an extra row of buttons along the top: email, internet, volume and so forth. The mute key is pretty useful but the real piece of genius is the calculator key.

    I don't care how funky your keyboard is: if you don't have a calculator key I'm not buying it. I'm used to it and I've come to expect it. Five years ago, sure, but get with the program. I'm not willing to remap and lose a regular key.
    • Re:Calculator key? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by BungoMan85 ( 681447 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:44AM (#12634229) Homepage
      Couldn't agree more. I got the MS wireless desktop elite keyboard and mouse ($99.99 at Fry's). It is by far the best keyboard I've ever used. What makes it so is mostly the extra buttons up top. I use the calculator one at least 10 times a day. And the volume control/play control/mute button for WMP (I use it, shut up, it works for me) up top is probably going to wear out soon I use it so much. Not to mention the customizable quicklaunch buttons. I got mine set to open the command prompt, Ultra Edit, the registry editor, notepad, and MSVC++. And it has buttons to open a slew of other things too. And lest we forget the browser forward/backward buttons with a scroll wheel beneath them? And that's just the keyboard, the mouse is even cooler.
    • by lxs ( 131946 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:45AM (#12634244)
      Real geeks use a sliderule.
    • by dajak ( 662256 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @11:13AM (#12634655)
      Nowadays keyboards come with an extra row of buttons along the top: email, internet, volume and so forth. ... and shutdown/standby. My cat loves that key.
    • Re:Calculator key? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Omestes ( 471991 )
      Am I the only person on earth who still just wants a plain old keyboard? Everytime I go shopping of a new keyboard, I spend HOURS looking for a decent one, that isn't larger than my modest desk,that does not have more superfluous buttons than actual keys.

      The happiest I've ever been with a keyboard was a small black wireless one, sans num keys, but I have an extra (wired) set of num keys, if I so need them. It was small (about the size of a 12" laptop keyboard), meaning my fingers needed less play to type
  • by yagu ( 721525 ) <> on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:36AM (#12634069) Journal

    I like the looks of this keyboard. But, for those looking and drawing any conclusions (I've been burned by this before), read the specs! The web site clearly represents pictorially the keyboard as wireless (I consider this deceptive -- even the "click to zoom" pictures fail to show a cable!). It is not wireless! This may not concern some, but for my uses these days I consider only wireless keyboards... not a commentary on what technology and keyboards should be, just my personal preference.

    So, look before you buy.

    On a related note, if you're looking for an excuse to improve your typing speed this keyboard may give you that (albeit a bit pricey). I finally was shamed into learning touch-typing when a frustrated on-looker (a friend) wrested my keyboard from my hands to finish typing something he was dictating. That incident prompted me to spend the next week refusing to look at the keyboard to type instead learning the keys by touch. Everyone around me went crazy for a week since my immediate result was essentially less than 10 words/minute with about zero percent accuracy. Within only one week I was typing 30 words/minute with about 80 percent accuracy. Today I easily go 60 wpm... that one incident/response dramatically changed my life professionally and personally.

    benefits from learning the keyboard:

    • dramatic increase in productivity
    • better relationships (really!)... ever get snippy with someone because they couldn't "get it out" of their fingers while trying to type? (no jokes please).
    • expansion of your task universe... you'll take on things you'd never have considered before. I once converted a paper "tutorial" system for my company to an on-line ISPF set of tutorial. The main task included writing lots of code -- that was easy and I quickly dispatched that..., but had I not been able to touch type I wouldn't have been able to consider the task, there were ten's of pages to type, I wouldn't have tried to do it in my "pre-touch" days. (BTW, I got a nice company bonus for that little effort (did it on my own time)).
    • better communications... you'll be able to sit down and spin off almost at the speed of stream of consciousness letters, memos, "what if's", etc.
    • better karma... it's just much more satisfying and less stressful in general to create without having to establish a relationship with the keyboard.
    • by Robotech_Master ( 14247 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:53AM (#12634379) Homepage Journal
      I'm just thankful that I learned typing the right way--in a high school class under a martinet of a teacher on IBM selectric typewriters where I was not allowed to look at the keyboard. Now I type 100 wpm without having to think about where to put my fingers.

      Every so often I marvel at the adaptivity of the human nervous system, the way that I can just think a word and it appears on the screen without my having to pay attention to where my individual fingers go. It's the next best thing to mental telepathy.
      • by yagu ( 721525 ) <> on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @11:01AM (#12634501) Journal
        Every so often I marvel at the adaptivity of the human nervous system, the way that I can just think a word and it appears on the screen without my having to pay attention to where my individual fingers go. It's the next best thing to mental telepathy.

        I absolutely agree here! It is almost nothing short of amazing. Wonder if you've ever had the experience where you are typing something, you think one word, and another perfectly spelled "other" word appears on the screen/paper? That one totally freaks me out. It's pretty clear that the adaptation by the body has just created another channel of language.... While I've never learned sign, I'm guessing it's a similar deal.

        (By the way, it'd be nice if typing classes came back... I never took any classes because at the time, it was only for "secretarial" training, and computers as we know them today didn't exist.... like I stated before it was only because of a crisis in tension I even addressed the issue of learning the keyboard. Are there typing classes anymore?)

        • Wonder if you've ever had the experience where you are typing something, you think one word, and another perfectly spelled "other" word appears on the screen/paper?

          Every now and boobs but it usually happens when my mind hasn't quiet finish another thought.

    • I can't stand wireless keyboards. I type at a decent speed (~60 WPM), and whenever I'm on a wireless keyboard the keyboard doesn't keep up with what I'm typing (in particular, the shift key-I have to make a conscious effort to slow down and hold down the Shift key long enough for it to notice so that I can capitalize a letter). I use a laptop anyways, so it doesnt really matter on my comp, but on my family's desktop it gets annoying.
  • Keytronic Ergoforce (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zarhan ( 415465 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:36AM (#12634070)
    I thought that the differing force between various keys has been standard in all keyboards for a very long time. Keytronic has called it Ergoforce [].
  • Only 80g? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:36AM (#12634072)
    The keys are divided into groups and their feedback springs are weighted differently; from 35 grams to 80 grams, which correspond to the strength of the finger that touches the keys.

    Why not 500 grams? Sure, it'd hurt for a few weeks but then the jocks'd have to welcome their new muscle-nerd overlords! Muahahaha!
  • keyboard really worth the high price tag?

    Hell yes. 80 bones for a good keyboard? I could care less about the whole blank thing, but the 5 different levels of force? I'm all over that ( like Paris on a cheeseburger ).

    Now if it comes apart and I can clean it in the dishwasher...mmmm.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:36AM (#12634079)
    it worjs perfevtky wekk anf i'n revommenfing it to everuone#
  • They finally found a use for those dell keyboards that come with every order!
  • Hey, if Philippe H., Tom T., and Jean V. think it is good, and that you should buy two while you're at it, then it must be great!
  • by moz25 ( 262020 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:37AM (#12634093) Homepage
    Now that is what differentiates the true entrepreneur from the ordinary folk: market the feature on which you're actually saving money and sell the item for 3-4 times comparable items.
  • Next step (Score:5, Funny)

    by __aaveti3199 ( 754358 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:37AM (#12634096)
    Blank monitor screens to stop us constantly checking our work. Then we'll be flying.
  • So What? (Score:5, Funny)

    by TuataraShoes ( 600303 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:37AM (#12634099)
    I've been using a mouse like that for years.
  • by Teechur007 ( 305420 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:37AM (#12634100)
    If you are a TRUE uber-geek, your keyboard will already be missing most of the markings from using it so much...and the ultimate uber-geek will usually be missing the markings from only one side... ;)
  • In a word: no, it's not worth the price. If looking at the keyboard is what keeps you from being able to type faster than you currently do, then you can achieve the same effect by just (for example) putting stickers on your current keyboard; but most likely, it isn't, anyway, at least not if you really are an übergeek. Switch to a Dvorak layout if you really want to be able to type faster. :)

    (Incidentally, that might be the one thing that this kind of keyboard is good for: you can easily switch betwe

  • I want a keyboard with "delete" on all the keys.
  • One Word Answer (Score:2, Informative)

    by ultimabaka ( 864222 )

    More detailed explanation:
    (a) I can type at 85 wpm, and sometimes I still forget where a key is sometimes. Even if you know where all the keys are, sometimes you may brush the keyboard to one side, and lose orientation, thus needing you to look down at the keyboard anyway to get it back. Not seeing keys makes it harder to regain that orientation.
    (b) Differentially weighted keys is a minimal improvement at best. Regular keyboards with regularly weighted keys have never bothered me, and unless these ke
  • Buttons and keys on Star Trek (original series) were never labeled - looks like we have finally achived the same! Personally I never look at the keys as it is now when I type, unless I need some obscure shift character or a function key, so I don't think it would be too difficult to get used to that keyboard. Then again, the question "why" is still begged.
  • If they didn't bother to label any of the keys, why did they label the LEDs?
  • by dJCL ( 183345 )
    As the article about mice earlier stated, these are the peripherals that you interact with the most. You want the best.

    I paid over $250 for my keyboard/mouse combo, and feel it was worth every penny. ( Logitech diNovo bluetooth/ultrathin )

    We all use our systems everyday, and if we don't use the best interfaces, then problems will develop. People are willing to spend hundreds on flat panel displays for their computer, and you use kb/mouse just as much.

    Course, I use CRT's exclusivly, both price and quality
  • I think this is an awesome idea, and I'd like to try one.

    I wonder if I can accomplish the same effect by blocking my view of the keyboard; some kind of cardboard shelf suspended between my monitor and keyboard so I can't see the keys. Hmm ... I *will* try this.


  • by sphealey ( 2855 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:39AM (#12634140)
    > which the maker touts will make you type 100%
    > faster in a few weeks since it will keep you from
    > looking at the keyboard.

    10-15 years ago I might have agreed with this, but today there are so many keyboard layouts that it is impossible not to look. The ~ and | symbols are in a different place on every one of the 10 keyboards I use daily, for example.

  • Model M (Score:3, Interesting)

    by screwballicus ( 313964 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:39AM (#12634148)
    Or if you use a Model M or Model M clone, just pop off your key caps and type on the underlying bases, for a unique typing experience.

    But really, you might as well just arrange your keys in whatever configuration you like, if you've got a Model M.
  • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:41AM (#12634171) Journal
    I don't usually look at the keyboard, except for some keys I don't use very often. It would be cool to get a Braile keyboard without the keys printed on it, so I could subconsciously learn Braile while I'm typing. You never know when or if you're going to go blind.
  • by turbofisk ( 602472 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:44AM (#12634224)
    I'm never going back to an old-style keyboard... Using Logitechs Ultraflat keyboard... I type faster, with less strain, and am more comfortable while doing it. Did I mention it costs 30 bucks and is the same type of keyboard you find on laptops?
  • by Nothing Special ( 700074 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:47AM (#12634277)
    I am selling a premium 20" monitor that will not turn on.

    For $799.99 you can have the ultimate in distraction free typing. after a few weeks you will intuitively know where on the screen the cursor is and your speed will increase at least 100%. Plus, without those distracting Graphics, you will be able to focus on kicking ass when gaming.

    Order today, and I will throw in a Dolby 7.1 certified speakers that have no jack!

  • by ksw2 ( 520093 ) <obeyeater@gma i l . com> on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @11:02AM (#12634513) Homepage
    [email to daskeyboard...]


    Can I get a version that has the letters on all the wrong keys, so I'm
    punished if I get weak and look at the keyboard?


    That's a great idea. I will let you know when we can send you your punishment.

  • by christophe ( 36267 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @11:11AM (#12634628) Journal
    Friends of mine live in France at borders, work in Germany or Switzerland, occasionnaly fly to the US or China. These people are used to mentally swith keyboard mappings. (*)
    Imagine blank keyboard everywhere: impossible to know wich language it uses!!

    [(*) As many people of my generation used to games which thought American keyboards were the only ones: in France convert A to Q, W to Z, comma and M, and do not use Shift for numbers...]

    On the other side, these keyboards would be the first real international keyboards: just configure the OS, and you don't have to learn a new keyboard mapping each time you visit a new country.
    (Yes, we can already do that, but it seems humans need a reason to be lazy and force the computer to adapt to them instead of adapting to it).
  • by aliens ( 90441 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @11:45AM (#12635100) Homepage Journal
    I am typing this on a [] if you're not melded with your keyboard you are not worthy!

    And yes it really helps with finger stress/fatigue, whatever you want to call it.

    I just have to deal with being refered to as Edward Keyboardhands, or Keyboardstein by the co-workers.

    Still a lil slower than traditional but it's worth not killing my hands.

    (I bought mine on ebay but have talked to datahand reps a number of times, they're all very helpful)
  • I have a better idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cellocgw ( 617879 ) < minus language> on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @12:27PM (#12635605) Journal
    Given that nobody is *forcing* you to look at the KB in the first place, here's what I'd like to see:
    A keyboard that looks up what language and layout you've selected (Dvorak, Kanji, Hebrew, etc), and has teeny LCD displays in every key that automatically display the current symbol said key produces.
    Now that would be really cool!
  • by mr.bri ( 886912 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @12:51PM (#12635895)
    This keyboard is simply a Keytronic E03600 Black USB with the caps replaced. They didn't even change their wording for most of the description.

    See the link for the Keytronic E03600 [], notice the pictures, key placement/arrangement, are exactly the same.

    They didn't even bother to update the layout image for the different key weights (they simply resized it and put a note that "...the letters are visible on this diagram for information purposes only." See Keytronic's version [] and Das Keyboard's Version []. Though for some reason, Das Keyboard's image is better.

    And you can buy Keytronic's for $21.50 directly from the manufacturer, or even less elsewhere. It's currently out of stock from Keytronic; maybe these people bought them all thinking they had a gold mine at 400% profit! :-b

    Marketing! Marketing! Marketing!

  • by rleibman ( 622895 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @02:08PM (#12636780) Homepage
    I've yet to find a perfect keyboard, I like some of the things this one has though. Here's my feature list:
    • Hardwired dvorak/us switch (I use Dvorak, but it'd be easier to share this way)
    • Black or transparent (looks good), better when used with a mac
    • Not only ergonomic, but Adjustably ergonomic [] This is what I use today.
    • I'll take the blank keys from this one
    • I'll also take the variable force springs
    • Wireless
    • Ability to add a separate numeric keypad for those rare times when I need to input lots of numbers
    • A row of buttons for macros
    I'd be willing to put $150.00 for these features.

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.